DEANDRE Ayton in action.
#By RENALDO DORSETT
#Tribune Sports Reporter
#Deandre Ayton remains the biggest restricted free agent on the market and is just hours away from finding out whether he will have a new NBA home alongside “Buddy” Hield in Indiana or return to the Phoenix Suns.
#ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported that Ayton and the Indiana Pacers agreed to a four-year, $133 million offer sheet – the richest in NBA history for a restricted free agent. The Suns have 48 hours to match the offer sheet and retain Ayton as a member of the franchise or allow him to leave for Indiana.
#Once Ayton officially signs the offer sheet, the Suns will no longer be able to involve him in a sign and trade with Indiana.
#Furthermore, if the Suns decide to match the offer sheet, they will be unable to trade Ayton until January 15, 2023 and will be unable to trade him to the Pacers for a full calendar year. Ayton would also have the right to veto any trade offers for a full year.
#The Pacers, who currently have Buddy Hield on the roster, continue their attempt at a rebuild after they traded away guard Malcolm Brogdon last month and All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis last season.
#In his fourth season, Ayton averaged 17.2 points on a career high 63 percent from the field and 10.2 rebounds per game in 58 appearances.
#Contract negotiations between Ayton and the Suns reached an impasse last April after both sides failed to reach an agreement on a rookie contract extension.
#Tensions heightened during a surprising playoff exit at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks.
#Ayton appeared in only 17 minutes of the Suns’ 123-90 elimination loss to the Mavericks in game seven of the Western Conference semifinals.
#The 24-year-old former no.1 overall pick was eligible for a five-year, $172.5 million extension that could have reached as much as $207 million if he reached benchmarks and incentives.
#During the NBA Draft Combine in May, Ayton’s agent Bill Duffy discussed his client’s future on SiriusXM’s NBA show.
#“We’re disappointed. We wanted a max contract,” Duffy said. “He went out and was a solider the whole year, played well, improved his statistics. So, we’re proud of him. A lot of guys handle things differently, but he was very mature about it. Things will work out for Deandre. He’s a valuable player. There’s other teams in the league as well. He’s a restricted free agent, so we’ll see how this process unfolds.”
#Suns general manager James Jones reiterated his organisation’s desire to keep its former no.1 overall pick under contract moving forward.
#“Nothing has changed on our end. We haven’t said anything different. DA remains a huge part of what we do and he’s a free agent. So we’ll talk about free agency when that time comes, but that hasn’t changed,” Jones said following last week’s NBA Draft.
#“I think you hear his teammates. They echo the same sentiment that we have. This team is a really good team and we’re going to keep it together.”
#Several players in Ayton’s 2018 NBA draft class have received max contract extensions, including Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Jaren Jackson Jr of the Memphis Grizzlies, Kevin Huerter of the Atlanta Hawks and Michael Porter Jr of the Denver Nuggets.